Mark Roman | August 31, 2021 | Car Accidents
Car accidents are common in Clearwater. If you are injured in a car accident, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries through an injury claim with your own insurance. Florida’s no-fault insurance laws dictate when you can sue the at-fault driver for additional damages not covered by your own insurance.
What Does it Mean to Have No-Fault Insurance?
Florida is a no-fault insurance state for automobile accidents. Every driver must purchase no-fault insurance called Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage.
PIP coverage pays benefits regardless of who causes an accident. No-fault insurance is designed to compensate accident victims quickly.
If you are injured in a car accident, you must seek medical care within 14 days of the collision to receive PIP payments. No-fault insurance pays up to 80 percent of your medical expenses and up to 60 percent of your lost wages.
However, PIP coverage does not compensate you for other damages. Also, your compensation under PIP coverage is capped by your policy limits. Therefore, you could be responsible for a significant portion of your medical bills and lost wages after an accident.
Fortunately, there is an exception to Florida’s no-fault insurance laws that allows you to sue another driver if you were seriously injured in a car accident.
Florida’s Serious Injury Threshold for Car Accident Lawsuits
If you were seriously injured in a car crash, you could sue the at-fault driver for damages. Serious injuries could include, but are not limited to, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, severe burns, wrongful death, broken bones, and other catastrophic injuries.
Florida statutes define serious injuries as:
- Life-threatening injuries that have a substantial risk of causing death
- Loss of mobility or bodily functions
- A physical condition that has a high risk of causing a permanent impairment or long-term disability
- Substantial disfigurement or scarring
If your injuries fall into one of these categories, you may be eligible to file an injury claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver. First, however, you have the burden of proving that the other driver caused the car accident.
What Damages Can You Recover When You Sue for a Clearwater Car Accident?
Examples of damages you could receive for a car accident lawsuit include:
- Past and future cost of medical care and treatment
- Past and future loss of wages, benefits, and other income
- Reductions in your future earning potential because of permanent disabilities
- Scarring, disfigurement, impairments, and disabilities
- Pain and suffering damages, including mental anguish, physical discomfort, and emotional distress
- Reduced quality of life and loss of enjoyment of life
The value of your damages depends on the facts of your case. Generally, catastrophic injuries and permanent impairments increase the value of a claim. However, your compensation could be reduced if you were partially to blame for the cause of the car accident.
What Should I Do to Protect My Right to Sue for a Car Accident?
Call 911 after the car accident to report the crash and request help. Do not discuss the accident with anyone other than the police officer. Tell the police officer what happened without admitting fault for the car accident.
Always seek immediate medical attention for injuries. It is wise to see a doctor after a car accident, even if you do not believe you were seriously injured. Some injuries may not present symptoms for a few hours or days following a crash.
As soon as possible, talk with a Clearwater car accident lawyer. An attorney can analyze your situation and provide legal advice and guidance. Understanding your legal rights and your options for filing injury claims is the best way to protect your right to recover fair compensation for a car accident claim.
Are There Deadlines for Filing Car Accident Lawsuits in Florida?
Yes, the Florida statute of limitations applies to most car accident cases. Victims have just four years after a car crash to file a lawsuit seeking damages in most cases.
Exceptions could lengthen or shorten the deadline to file lawsuits. Therefore, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible after a car accident in Clearwater, FL to preserve your rights.
Contact the Clearwater Car Accident Law Firm of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today
For more information, please contact the legal team of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers for a free initial consultation with a car accident lawyer in Clearwater. We have five convenient locations in Florida: Clearwater, New Port Richey, and Tampa.
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater Office
1811 N. Belcher Road, Suite I-1
Clearwater, FL 33765
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Congress Ave Office
2360 Congress Avenue
Clearwater, FL 33763
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – Tampa Office
6601 Memorial Hwy Suite 202
Tampa, FL 33615
Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers – New Port Richey Office
2515 Seven Springs Blvd.
New Port Richey, FL, 34655